I am a licensed psychologist in the state of Maryland. I have concerns about the effectiveness of the sex offender registry. The thought process behind why the registry was created makes sense, to promote awareness in the community of a former convicted predator’s location and to prevent future sex offenses from occurring. Although this sounds good in theory, research has shown that the SOR in fact DOES NOT do this. The registry does nothing to protect the community and does not prevent crime(s) from occurring. Study after study presents no evidence that SORNA effectively reduces sex crime recidivism. In the absence of any proof that this is effective measure and in the face of so much evidence that registration only destabilizes and creates a barrier to successful reentry to a population that already has a low rate of recidivism. Sex offenders have the lowest recidivism rate of any crime group. This is a fact that has been proven over and over again in the research.
A better measurement must be implemented if this population of people are deemed to be monitored (as some should continue to be monitored), starting with implementation of a sex offender risk assessment. If someone is at a high risk of reoffending, some type of monitoring should be put into place for this individual other than a registry.

My second concern involves an individual having to be on the registry for the rest of his/her life. This is absolutely absurd and occurs with no other crime. An individual goes to jail for 5, 15, or 25 years and serves his/her time for a sex crime. The individual participates in sex offender classes, holds employment in prison, is a role model inmate, becomes rehabilitated and is later released to only encounter more obstacles. For example, the registry makes it much more difficult to obtain employment, increases homelessness, causes strain on familial relationships, and leaves the individual marked as a target in society. Lastly, the registry takes away any chance of redemption or societal reintegration for an individual who has already served his/her time in prison.

In conclusion, there is no benefit of having a SOR. The research shows that the registry does not serve the purpose for the reasons it was created. It does not deter crime, lower re-offense, protect citizens, or make the community any safer. Each state pays millions of dollars in resources each year for something that does nothing good and only creates harm. This money could be allocated to other resources such as victim assistance and sex offender programs.

Thank you for your time.

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